2019 is my year of bravery.
Back in January as I was on my first ever solo trip through Europe, I began to get a hunch that God wanted me to choose a word for this year. I’ve never done that before. I began to pray about it and my first thought for a word was "joy" or maybe "adventure", but it didn’t feel right. Then it came to me: B R A V E. God was calling me into a season full of bravery--unknowns, uncertainties, new countries, new lifestyle, NEW everything!. I get a lot of questions about how I solo travel, why I solo travel, how I moved across the world twice to start new chapters and more. My answer is simple: I’m never alone. God is with me every step of my journey. I’m chasing the calling He has placed on my life and I know He has walked every step and every day before me. God will never leave you or forsake you. He calls you to be brave.
Building, creating and launching this website has also been full of brave choices. I’m saying no to fear and yes to living my dream. I just read a book by Jordan Lee Dooley who stated, “God made me on purpose for a purpose. I’ll share my story even before I get to my happy ending. Instead of avoiding failure, I’ll B R A V E L Y step into the fun of the adventure." I’ll be a culture changer instead of being changed by the culture.” And this my friends sums it up.
A BUCKET LIST is only a list until you dream big and make it a reality. The list below are both my DREAM BIG ideas that I’ve made a reality and ones that I’m still dreaming to do. Bob Goff, one of my favorite authors dares us to dream big and love everybody always. Through choosing to be B R A V E in Jesus I have begun to make my BIG DREAMS a reality.
Crossed off my list:
Go cage diving with great whites in south africa
Go to Germany for Oktoberfest
Go Dog Sledding in Sweden
Swim with Sea Turtles
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus (Jerusalem & Israel)
Visit Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day
Go to Iceland to and see the northern lights
Swim with nurse sharks in exuma, bahamas
Go to the airport and buy a spontaneous flight
Travel to fiji
travel to banff National park
Visit Khao Sok National Park
Have something I should add to my bucket list?
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkel in the GREAT BARRIER REEF was the first item I added to my bucket list back when I was 12. 12 years later, at age 24, I am living the dream. This past June I had the opportunity to travel to Cairns, Queensland to check off my first ever bucket list item + so much more and let me tell ya it DID NOT disappoint. My favorite trip I’ve been on to date. Some of the highlights included a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, Scuba Diving 3 times in the Great Barrier Reef, visiting Kuranda Village + so much more.
Check out my travel guide of this once in a lifetime trip here or relive the experience with me by watching my GBR vlog here.
Play Professional Basketball
November 28th, 2018: I signed my first professional contract to play basketball in Weiterstadt, Germany for Sportgemeinde 1886 e.V. Weiterstadt.
December 3rd, 2018: My dream of playing professional basketball came true when I moved to Weiterstadt, Germany.
January 9th, 2019: I played in my first ever professional basketball game. Surreal.
March 20th, 2019: I signed my second contract to play basketball for the Sturt Sabres in Adelaide, South Australia.
April 1st, 2019: Moved to Adelaide, South Australia. I left Atlanta, Georgia April 1st, but arrived in Adelaide after 33 hours of travel on April 3rd.
April 13th, 2019: Played my first game as a Sturt Sabre (and we got the DUB).
Currently: Still balling in Adelaide, South Australia. Go Sabres!!!!
Visit a German Christmas Market
I moved to Germany at the beginning of December, just in time for my favorite holiday season and the chance to check off a bucket list item. The German Christmas Markets were so fabulous. I shopped, ate bratwurst and drank the German Gluwein as I enjoyed getting in the holiday spirit. I visited both the Frankfurt, Germany Christmas Market as well as spent Christmas Eve at the Munich Christmas Markets.
Go to the Swiss Alps
This should also read “enjoy real swiss chocolate” and “taste real swiss cheese.” Nothing better than eating real Swiss cheese, savouring the best of the best Swiss chocolate and then relaxing with the beautiful views of the Swiss alps. In roughly 40 hours in Zurich, Switzerland and a day trip to Mt. Titlis these 3 things were checked off.
Swiss Cheese - Swiss Chuchi Restaurant
Swiss Chocolate - Teuscher Chocolate
Swiss Alps - Mt. Titlis
Drive the Great Ocean Road
I took a short hour plane ride from Adelaide, South Australia to Melbourne, Victoria for a weekend getaway. The highlight of my trip was most definitely driving the Great Ocean Road. We were able to see the 12 Apostles, Loch Are Gorge, Koalas in the wild, try vegemite ice-cream at the #1 ice-cream spot in all of Australia (Dooley’s Ice Cream), climb Gibson’s Steps and so much more! I would 100% recommend the exact tour I did. I did it in “reverse” which was the way to go! Autopia Tours were incredible! Want to go on the exact tour I did?
Dance on the Top of Germany
I visited the small town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany during my 11 day solo trip through Europe. I went to this small town originally for a “sleigh ride” through the city, however, I found there was so much more to do in this beautiful town. Little did I know that, Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze, was in this little town. I soon found myself in what seemed like a movie. I was in a train headed up the side of the mountain. It was pure bliss. After getting to the top, I celebrated in the most “Ky” way possible: set up my tripod and recorded my dance party of 1 at the top of Germany. It lasted for 12 minutes! HAHA If you don’t believe me, just ask me for the video footage.
My motto: Dance like no one is watching…except someone probably is…and you still shouldn’t care :)
Spend NYE in Prague
Rang in 2019 in one of the most picturesque celebrations. I ended my first solo trip ever with a bang (literally) watching fireworks over the beautiful city of Prague. I celebrated in style with a 4 course meal + party at Hotel Hoffmeister. Prague is one of my favorite European cities and I only spent two days there. I definitely see a trip back to Prague in the near future!
Sing Karaoke with My BFF in Budapest
My first trip two weeks after I moved to Germany was to visit my bestie of course! She was playing basketball in Gyor, Hungary at the time, a town outside of Budapest. I spent the weekend with her and had the best time ever. One of the highlights of our trip was singing our hearts out at a karaoke bar in Budapest. What song did we sing you might wonder???
I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys because DUH
Click here to watch the full vlog of our bestie weekend together in Hungary!
Make a Lifestyle Change
CHOOSE JOY | CHASE JOY | BELEIEVE JOY
This was a point in my life where I had NO idea what was next. I was living in Nashville finishing my masters at Belmont all while still training to hopefully get a call to play professional basketball overseas. For people who don’t understand the overseas process you normally get a call in August at the LATEST and September maybe at the ABSOLUTE LATEST. It was mid October and I still hadn’t received a call. I was praying constantly, showing up to class, occasionally still working out when I had the motivation, couch hopping and really just going through the motions.
As Sunday rolled around week after week, it was a reminder that another week has gone by without a call. Sunday also meant church which was a safe haven. The past Sundays had plenty of tears as I cried and prayed during worship wondering why was God telling me no on a dream I was so passionate about. One specific Sunday, Annie Downs got up to speak on “Unsubscribing from Darkness” and my life was changed for the better. She shared how we have to CHOOSE JOY no matter the circumstances, CHASE JOY everyday, and BELIEVE JOY is here and no matter what you are going through it will not beat you. This stuck with me and from that day I vowed to use this as my mantra through the ups and the downs of life. This mantra is a reminder that my joy is not found in my circumstances but instead found in my Lord and Savior.
Choose Jesus. Chase Jesus. Believe Jesus. and joy will always be yours. Thank you Annie Downs for this incredible life changing message!
Read my Instagram Post on how this message changed my life here!
Get my Masters
Only took me 24 years but I finally mastered sports. I graduated this past May receiving my second degree (Masters of Sport Administration) from Belmont University. Trying to finish your masters while navigating living in two foreign countries for the first time on your own is far from easy. By far one of the hardest years of school in my entire life, mentally, physically and emotionally. No pity party needed, but with challenges comes mindset choices. And I always choose joy, chase joy and believe joy. As Elle Woods would say, “you must always have faith in people. and most importantly you must always have faith in yourself.” Thankful for my family and friends for encouraging and supporting me along the way. 2 years later of hard work in 4 cities and 3 countries YA GIRL DID IT. SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER.
I’ve always wanted to visit Australia little did I know I would end up MOVING to Australia. I am currently living and playing professional basketball in Adelaide, South Australia. It is winter here and believe it or not it actually does get COLD. Okay okay – maybe I am a bit dramatic but I’m going on month 8 of winter and it’s killing this summer gal. Either way Australia is a dream country and I’m thankful to be living here.
I’ve always wanted to visit Paris. Once I moved to Germany, Paris was at the top of my list of places to go. I knew my dad was going to visit me at the end of February and it was the perfect trip to go on with him. We visited the Arc de triumphe, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, had lunch in Montmarte, went inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame, took pics under the umbrellas at Le Village Royale + so much more. We had the best time exploring the beautiful city of Paris together. It also was a nice break from solo traveling for me.
Speed on the Autobahn
It was my last night in Germany before moving home and my dad was visiting me. I just played my last game and we were leaving for the airport at 8:00am the following morning. I didn’t realize that for the last 3 months I had been driving on the Autobahn. For you all who don’t know what this is- The Autobahn is the German highway system where certain parts of the highway do not have a speed limit.
Go to an NBA Finals Game
Last minute, I had the opportunity to drive from Pittsburgh (where I was living at the time) to Cleveland for Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals - The Cleveland Cavs vs. The Golden State Warriors. My friend from Vanderbilt University was drafted by the Warriors in June 2016. He was able to get me and our other mutual friend. Zach two tickets to the game. Zach drove 5 hours one way from Indianapolis to Cleveland for the game and then back the same night. I had a two-hour drive and then stayed overnight and drove back the next morning early to make it to work in time. This was such a fun night and dream experience!
Go on my first solo trip
December 2018 / January 2019
YALL THIS TRIP WAS A DREAM. I spent 11 days and 10 nights traveling to 10 cities and 4 different countries. I may have spent my first Christmas and NYE away from friends and family but this trip was absolutely incredible.
Read more about this bucket list trip in my travel guide here.
Visit Christ the Redeemer
About four years ago, my college basketball team (Belmont University) and I went on a mission trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We spent nine days in Rio sharing God’s word while playing the game we love. It was a life changing week as I served the people of Brazil along side my teammates. We loved, we cried, we prayed, we worshipped and we made life long friendships. The last day we were there we were able to visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue. It was absolutely breathtaking and a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever.
Do the bridgeclimb in sydney
I wasn’t sold on this at first but decided to give it a try and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Our guide was so knowledgable, I felt super safe and the views were OUT OF THIS WORLD. Although it is a bit on the expensive side, it is SO WORTH IT. I highly recommend doing the bridgeclimb and especially on a beautiful day. Afraid of heights? No biggie - you can’t see straight down and the steps are large. I promise the height thing wasn’t bad at all!
Fun fact: the exact spot where I am standing is where the Sydney NYE Fireworks are set off!
Read more about the Sydney BridgeClimb here.
Attend the hillsong conference
YALL THIS WAS A DREAM. I spent 4 days in Sydney at the Hillsong Christian Conference where I heard pastors speak from all across the world, worshipped with Hillsong Worship & Hillsong United, and met many new sisters / brothers in Christ. This week was one I will never forget and that changed my life for the better. Thanks mom and dad for the best birthday present I could have asked for! If you have any questions about the conference feel free to head over to my contact page and message me! Registration is already open for Hillsong Conference 2020. I am going to try my hardest to go again. Here is the registration link for anyone who is interested.
create a website
SURPRISE, it’t here!!!
Yall- I have been dreaming up of this website for over a year and working on it for over six months! I am so thankful for the incredible support and love from all my family and friends. An extra shoutout to my girl Jocelyn Burks who designed my dream website to bring to you guys! Another shoutout to the fabulous Mary Craven Photography for all the fabulous pics! I hope you’re enjoying looking around and please drop me a note to say hello!! XOXO
Soak in Queens Bath
This trip was so worth the hike. The hike isn’t long but it is a bit dangerous (especially after rain) so we took our time. It had rained the night before so things were slippery and steep. We helped each other along the way and you 100% need running shoes on. I would not wear flip flops. The views were absolutely stunning though and well worth the hike.
When the GPS says you have arrived, you are in the right spot. It is in a random residential area with like 10 parking spots but that is where the trail starts.
So so so glad we decided to do this!
snorkel in hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay State Park sees over 1 million visitors per year making it one of the top 3 destinations in Oahu. The beach is gorgeous, water crystal clear and marine life is plentiful. We had so much fun snorkeling all day here. Make sure to get here early as the park does get crowded. It opens at 6am and we arrived around 6:30am/7:00am. Keep in mind Hanauma Bay is closed to the public every Tuesday.
Visit the Na pali Coast
I went on a two week vacay with my BFF Jenny. We island hopped from Oahu to Kauai for a few days to visit my old basketball trainer and his family. Top on our Hawaii Bucket List was see the Napali Coast. We took a day sail boat tour that included lunch and snorkeling. It was absolutely beautiful.
Ask me what happened on the boat ride home….. #seasick LOL
Win a College championship
March 2018, March 2017, March 2016
I transferred to Belmont University my sophomore year (June 2014) to continue playing college basketball. I sat out the 2014-2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules and then played the next three seasons. Transferring to Belmont was one of the best things that have ever happened to me. We three peated as Ohio Valley Conference Championships which punched our tickets into March Madness each year. There is no greater feeling than winning a conference championship along side your best friends. I was lucky enough to experience this three years in a row! Love all my teammates!
CAGE diving with great whites
This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I am shark obsessed and was so excited when I got the opportunity to fly from Adelaide, South Australia to Port Lincoln, South Australia to go cage diving with Caylpso Star Charters. Minus the seasickness, I had the most incredible day diving with two great white sharks. They were 4.7m (15.4 feet) and 3.5m (11.5 feet)! Such a fun, spontaneous and shark filled 36 hours!